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Entomology (Study of Bugs)/mysterious striped bug with red abdomen

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Question
Hi!  Normally I don't freak out over bugs, but I think this was the same one that I found crawling down my hair onto my face yesterday. I flung it down onto the rug, and then lost track of it. Well, it came back today, crawling right next to my computer. Unfortunately, I freaked out and squished and then flushed it, but I was seriously heebie-jeebied out. It sort of looked like a cross between a spider and a fly, but moved more like a fly. It was the size of a large fly, and it had stripes on top, and a red abdomen. It looked...tough, kinda like those jumping spiders. Yesterday, when I felt it on my face and got it in my fingers, it felt strong, and it pushed against my fingers.  I live in central California, and my house is under a huge pine tree and a huge oak tree, so maybe that helps? Sorry I flushed it...

Answer
Robin:

I'm sorry, but nothing comes to mind from your description.  Text descriptions are always difficult because as an entomologist I have a catalog of characters I run through and it never matches what the person is trying to convey.  For example, *your* stripes could be what I consider "bands."  Stripes to me are vertical, from front to back, whereas bands are horizontal, from side to side.  Not *that* many insects have stripes, but thousands of species have bands.

So, I'm afraid I can't help you on this one.

Eric

Entomology (Study of Bugs)

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Eric R. Eaton

Expertise

I answer insect and spider identification questions ONLY. Attach images if possible. No "what bit me?", "what do I feed this bug in captivity?", or science fair project questions please. NO TECHNICAL QUESTIONS ABOUT INSECT PHYSIOLOGY.

Experience

Principal author, Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America. Professional entomologist employed previously at University of Massachusetts, Chase Studio, Inc., and Cincinnati Zoo; contract work for West Virginia Department of Natural Resources, Smithsonian Institution, and Portland (Oregon) State University.

Publications
Author, Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America, Missouri Conservationist magazine, Ranger Rick, Birds & Blooms, Timeline (journal of the Ohio Historical Society). I have contributed to several books as well.

Education/Credentials
Oregon State University, undergraduate major in entomology, did not receive degree.

Awards and Honors
One of the top 50 experts in all categories for AllExperts.com, 2009.

Past/Present Clients
Principal author of the Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America, Smithsonian Institution (contract), Cincinnati Zoo (employer), Portland State University (contract), Chase Studio, Inc (employer), Arkansas Museum of Discovery (guest speaker). Currently seeking speaking engagements, leadership roles at nature festivals, workshops, and ecotours.

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